Inhuman Swill : Memoir : Page 14
            

Back from Worldcon, and the strip-search chapter is done! 923 ms pages. Now it's off to my friend Robert's birthday party. Fashionably late.

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Chapter 45: "Two to Life"

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At Worldcon in Philadelphia. Got in from partying around midnight. Saw Cory at one party. He's been reading the book and commented favorably on the last couple of chapters. Returned to the room and while Laura slept, cranked out the rest of Chapter 45. 910 ms pages. Now sleep.

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Chapter 44: "To Book a Mormon"

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Another chapter done, and up to 888 ms pages.

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Chapter 43: "Whiplash"

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Hey, I'm back in the game, and back up to 870 ms pages. Woo-hoo!

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Clarion, My Wayward Son

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By the way, in the process of editing down my memoir for my agent to send it out again in May, I compressed four chapters dealing with my stint at the Clarion workshop down to one. The original four chapters are now posted on my site at:

http://www.shunn.net/writing/clarion

The excerpt deals more with the experience of being a Mormon among gentiles for the first time than it does with the mechanics of the workshop itself.

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[from Missionary Man, a memoir still in progress]

I had a very stupid argument once with my girlfriend Bertha, back when we were still living together. (Actually we had a lot of very stupid arguments, but I only plan to consider one here.) This was 1995, and we were at a small club in Seattle waiting for Barenaked Ladies to take the stage. We had both enjoyed the opening band, an act which managed the impressive feat of playing tunes in tricky time signatures without ever alienating the audience.

"How would you count that last song they did?" Bertha asked me. She had taken a class in music theory in college, coming away with just enough knowledge to make her a danger to herself and those around her. "It didn't sound like you could count it like a normal song."

This was her way of asking the number of beats per measure. "It was in five," I said.

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Back up to 848 ms pages. Manuscript goes in the mail to my agent first thing tomorrow. Or today, rather.

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Shrinkage

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Okay, I've taken the memoir about as far down as I can go now, from 947 pages to 833. That a little more than 12% shrinkage, or almost an eighth of the book. Wow! I've also gone from 47 chapters to 41.

Now I have just one more chapter to write—the money shot, "Words and Phrases You Must Never Use in Airports"—before I'm at a place where I can send the nearly damn complete manuscript to my agent for forwarding to HarperCollins. Tomorrow!

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Missionary Man

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So my agent has an editor at HarperCollins interested in the memoir. Unfortunately, a different Harper editor has already rejected it, so the title has to change for this new submission. Therefore, the book henceforth is called Missionary Man, not The Accidental Terrorist. (It will also help, of course, that there's now almost twice as much book as there was on the previous submission. That will go far toward helping everyone involved pretend this is a fresh submission.)

In preparation for delivering the almost-complete manuscript, I've been eliminating some chapters that have given other editors pause, including the three chapters about my stint at the Clarion science-fiction writing workshop in the summer of 1985. I'm pleased to say that in the past week I've whittled the ms down from 947 to 855 pages, and I still have one more unnecessary chapter to purge. The tricky thing has been finding ways to interpolate condensations of some of the salient backstory from the material I've eliminated into the remaining narrative. But I'm just about done! With luck I'll have the ms in the mail to Shawna on Monday.

Anyway, that's why, when I resume the new-chapter postings, the chapter and page counts will have shrunk.

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947 ms pages and counting.

You may notice that this is Chapter 47, when the last chapter I announced was 48. I did a little reorganization, and now there are fewer chapters.

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The Accidental Terrorist 30th Anniversary Sale

Signed editions
that even a
missionary
could afford.

Order yours now!

William Shunn

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